COUNTDOWN TO DUH-STRUCTION
Watchs synchonized and...set...hike! Drag City's suited and ready to first-respond on your ass no matter whether you think there's an emergency or not! The question is, are you ready for our own kind of intervention? If not, don't obstruct - because if it isn't you, then we're here to slice the 'dumb' genes off the bodies of the dead-headed strewn everywhere across this society! It's a modern-day Jonestown, it seems, just waiting to happen all over again. Christ, kids - don't follow false leaders...follow Drag City! In our little red riding-basket, we've got all manner of goodies to help grow your head back to normal size and cause the stupid-stubble to recede from your stupid faces! These records and shows and things we're always blpzzng about aren't here simply for your leisure activity - no! Although it's true, records without downloads are only good for sitting at home and listening. But why should that designated at-home listening time be leisurely? Listen actively when you sit in front of your stereo speakers, and feel your self swell to fill a new and useful space in this universe. That's all Drag City wants of you and everyone you know, and what's wrong with that? Take this year - we have proved it with releases alone, challenging heads with -scorchers and -scratchers from a roster comprising Alasdair Roberts, Chris Darrow, Ty Segall, Dawn McCarthy and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, The Howling Hex, Purling Hiss, Ensemble Pearl, OM, Dope Body, David Grubbs, Rich Ristagno, The Marquis de Tren & Bonny Billy, Harmony Korine and now, Scout Niblett, Sic Alps, The Source Family and OM (again, OM again, jiggity jig!)! You see a murderer's row of chart-toppers there? Of course you don't! These are practitioners of the art of the slow burn, the long tail, anniversaries that you mark in silver, pearl and coral. They affect you without you knowing, slow but sure, growing with the years. That's what's foremost in our minds as we help destroy the planet with a steady stream of plastic discs - the long haul, babies. One mind at a time. And one mind more...and more...
TIC, TIC, TIC...
....KABLOOM! And there's Sic, Sic, Sic all over you again. Seems like a lifetime has passed since the last Sic Alps emittance - technically, the amazing-great split single with Freakapuss (good copies still available!), or if you care to trade a 12" eye for another 12" eye, the eponymous LP of last September. Holy effin' fuck me, has it really been that long? That's like almost nine months, which, rounded up, is close to a year. A whole year without Sic Alps? No wonder we're so bloated, so unfresh in our ways. As of May 21st, the "She's On Top" 12"EP is out in pubic, with just the tonic to flense away the meat from our softening bones and, once they're exposed again, just the kind of sunshiney light to bleach 'em good and yellow. Tonic, thy name is (at least in part), brevity! These three songs combine to torch our wasteful lives and get us focused again on the forward motion that is all that matters. The songs themselves don't take the classic in-and-out format that Sic songs of years immemorial (like, "Love Is Strange" barely crossed a minute-and-a-half! And do you remember "Be a Song"? 28 seconds, that!) - now, they flow through more a few time-chambers more, emerging sand-blasted and shiny, ready to play. And surprise! "She's On Top," "Carrie Jean" and "Biz Bag" are all deep-focus productions, where the smoke and coke-mirrors so deftly deployed through Sicstory glitter and sizzle in the background at best, while the band pounds away, (almost) naked but smashing and blocking nonetheless. "She's On Top" is a three-part blast that splashes away from the Alpsian swamps of yore, with each song a candidate for the top of your summer playlist. Skool's out, "She's On Top" - and you will be too, once you hear "She's On Top." Get Sic again, again!
Oh boys, let me tell you - not only is Emma "Scout" Niblett back with nine big ones for you to get in on, but Scout's out and about too - touring in support of It's Up To Emma from here to Timbuktu. That particular's date's TBA (if not completely MIA), but in the interim, she's not gonna stop breaking down until she's got all the way across Europe, where she'll be living at large through the month of June on the sustenance of actual live gigs in Germany, England, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden and Norway, before returning to the Ununited States for another shakedown cruise through the clubs over here. Live's a perfect setting for our Scout - the songs of It's Up To Emma are righteously raw, begging to be sung into your face. Catching the show'll be sure way to treat dead skin, like a stainless steel loofah. Good for you too. But the album that is and will be It's Up to Emma is more than just an acid bath. Checking into a tune like "Woman and Man" one finds a text that spotlights a single, simple unjudged moment, almost a thought really, that can only evolve in our minds as time goes on. Or check into the nuances brought to "My Man" by the strings and percussion and backing Scouts. These moments provide contrast and counterpoint to the sharp thrusts represented by "Gun" (the video for which is another example of this, didja see it?) and the waves ridden in "Could This Possibly Be?" and "Second Chance Dreams." It's a record of highs and lows that cycle around and acknowledge that such a thing as resolution is a construct, a fiction. Living is about coming around to it again, not being able to avoid it, living with it, and coming around again. In every sweat-and-sweet-filled moment of her music, Scout lives these things out, and sings them. Ouch, and wow! Songs like these are rare things, and ultimately kind. It's Up to Emma - but you can join in too! OUT NOW.
GOD, GOD, GOD - GOD VIBRATIONS
By the great version Mary, we've got another deep helping of dub unearthed from the grooves of OM's best-selling religion-and-philosophy music, Advaitic Songs. Go ahead, wear out your copies of "Addis Dubplate"! There's more where they came from. And now there's another Advaitic Dubplate to taste of the body from - "Garden of Gethsemene"/"Garden of Dub" is out now! Once again, OM's grooves are elevated with precision, power and majesty from the Celestial duo of Alpha & Omega. The roots duo take all that has bounce in OM's music and streamlines the rest into a palace for the groove, and whoo! It's a spin-and-a-half per side - and there's two sides! These dubplates are brave new world stuff for OM, but they feel well lived in and act as an ancient doorway that we never walked through until today. Now that we have, we can't uncross that threshold, nor do we want to. OM GOD, Book Two! In the house now - and a second pressing already on the altar at the pressing plant, for the pilgrims just now on the rim of the desert, silhouetted on the horizon. They're coming...but OM is ready.
AMERICA SHOWS UP IN FORCE FOR THE SOURCE (AND GOES HOME WITH A RECORD UNDER ITS ARM)
It's May in the Americas, and the Source is with us - in movie houses everywhere, courtesy of Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos, who directed this documentary so that we could all learn what a cult could do if their chakras were on straight and the energy was flowing right. For a few years in the early 1970s, Father Yod and his Sourcekateers were just that kind of a cult, living off the fat of the land (courtesy of West Hollywood's Source Restaurant) and singing the praises of not just God, but Yod (courtesy of their very own house rock and roll band, YaHoWa13). But just like every hippie cult ever, it was too much, too soon, and the dream died on the beach in Hawaii, like we hope our dream does one day too (whatta way to go! Va va voom!). If you want to know anything more (like their secret recipe for sacred-herb brownies), you'll just have to join everyone else in line and see the movie! Or check it out on VOD, currently raising consciousness on small screens everywhere for the next four weeks. Yod may have dropped the body, but the Source still have something to teach you - and it's about more than the price of a cinema ticket (or the price of ye olde DVD, out in June! - bottom-line ed.). Wear some inner light clothes - we'll see you in the lobby!
And while you're there, you may just be in a select theater that's selling The Source Family Original Soundtrack album - available on LP and CD! If you've never heard the Source on record, here's the place to start! With tracks culled from half a dozen previous releases, this album will be the Father Yod of your Source Family record collection, pointing you in the direction of eternal favorites like Penetration, To The Principles For the Children and many freaky others! If you can't get it in the theater, your local Drag City repository (aka, record store - real world ed.) will have it. And if they don't - how dare they! - get it from us. Mail order lives, in the friendly, non-corporate confines of dragcity.com. The Source is online too - they're everywhere!
NICE GUYS DON'T WORK IN HOLLYWOOD (THEY JUST LIVE AND DIE THERE)
Geez, all this music. It just sucks. So much music? Too much music! We distribute a breakout movie in the music business and even that's all about the music! What about our lifelong dream to get into movies? Non-musical movies - movies about everyday things like people obsessed about their sexuality and ready to kill because of it! Now that's a movie that we'd watch - again. In fact, we have it in the player at home. Everyone loves the movies, and summertime's movie time in America, as if any other time weren't. That's why this June, we're putting out a book that chronicles major sea-changes in the American film landscape in the 20th century. Just like the header of our section, it's called Nice Guys Don't Work In Hollywood, but it's also called The Adventures of An Aesthete In the Movie Business, which almost sums it up. But you, fellow movie buff - you need to know more! Nice Guys Don't Work In Hollywood is the memoir of the late Curtis Harrington, who left an unpublished manuscript behind in addition to his checkered filmography, both of which trace an ambitious path through the wild early days of film in California, through several levels of the studio system at mid-century, before fading into the ultimate B-world: television in the 1970s and 80s. . In the course of doing all this, Curtis made a lot of scenes, and the narrative of the book is driven as much by his encounters with the constellation of personalities from those decades as it is by own visions. That said, Harrington was inspired by the guiding principles learned from absorbing the era of silent films and the early talkies, particularly the horror films that were in vogue in the 30s. He started making avant-garde short films in the mid-40s, screening them alongside Kenneth Anger and Maya Deren in Los Angeles and New York. In the 1950s, he rubbed shoulders with directors and critics in Europe, spending time at the Cinématheque Française, and writing for, among others, Sight & Sound before returning to Los Angeles. There he finally made it inside the studios, where he assisted at MGM before making his definitive statement - the sexually conflicted fantasy noir Night Tide, which was independently funded and released through Roger Corman's American International Pictures. In the 1960s, Curtis continued working for Corman, before making Games at Universal and What's the Matter With Helen? with United Artists. By the 70s, TV movies were a way of getting projects done, and before long, Curtis was headed down the slippery slope in Hollywood into the television netherworld that included credits on Charlie's Angels and Dynasty. Again, the personalities that he encountered along the way and his dry recollection of those moments make Nice Guys Don't Work In Hollywood a fantastic read for the old-school Hollywood fan. And it's a nice companion piece to screenings of everything from How Awful About Allan and The Bees to Curtis' rarely-seen shorts, all of which are being reissued this summer on a Flicker Alley DVD and co-released by yours truly, Drag City! Let's all go to the movies this summer! If they're silent, it don't make a difference - we've all heard enough music for a few lifetimes, haven't we?
Cast your vision deep into the summer, into the sludgy, pre-dog days heart (the wolf days?). This is what you call a vacation! This is what you call "down time." When you look at the calendar, you claim you see nothing there - but you lie! Or as we prefer to spell it, July. Oh my god, have we got something going on in July. It's called October! But we won't get into that right now. Now it's May, which means we're just finishing up on August! Again, as much as we'd love to talk about it, that's a (super-delicious) topic for a later moment. Instead, here's an idea - let's talk about what we're gonna release after our June date of Royal Trux "3-Song EP" 12"/CDEP (did he not mention this? Well yes, West Virginia, our tireless campaign of Royal Trux reissues continues! - wake-the-fuck-up ed.), Curtis Harrington's Nice Guys Don't Work In Hollywood book and The Source Family DVD.
In truth, it's in the month called July.
TURN YOUR HEADS AND KAUF, MAN!
No, that ain't a rooster in your damn yard! It's Drag City, struttin', slickin' feathers and celebrating another day on earth now that we've got Andy Kaufman on the roster! Yeah, kids - he's back, and badder than ever. We've been waiting years to do this - at least a couple, anyway! We just had to wait for the awful taste of that biopic to finally fade from the tongue of the international consciousness (if you don't know by now, don't mess with it) in order to bring the REAL back into play. And it really gets no more real than this: Andy and His Grandmother is an album entirely derived from tapes that Kaufman made during the late 70s or so. He'd obtained a microcassette recorder and was convinced the technology was the key to making a truly great record. He could carry it with him anywhere and tape anything and everything that happened. Over the course of time, he filled up nearly a hundred tapes with encounters that, while based in reality, became irretrievably warped once he started to engage with the situation. Fans of Kaufman's know that the unbearably real part of reality was Andy's muse; his comedy was squeezed out of moments of misunderstanding, failure and pathos. The tapes find Andy experimenting with new approaches in his everyday life. Rather than functioning as a journal or a drawing board, the tapes were a way of realizing comedy live and on the fly. If a taxi ride was approaching and it seemed a good moment to have a bad moment, the recorder was ready. If a drive with grandma was an equally good/bad situation, ditto! And so it went with friends, strangers and girlfriends alike - the closer to home the circumstances were, the blurrier the line between what was really happening and what was supposed to be happening, the better! There's an air of rancor to this that is familiar to Kaufman aficionados but retains the sting of crazy after all these years. Thank you cassette tapes, for helping us realize a dream here - but was it our dream, or Andy Kaufman's? Doesn't matter - now we can all hear what Andy and His Grandmother is all about.
GOD? STRIKES AGAIN
Last September, we heard for the first time from God? - the label, not the potentially made-up One With Many Names! This first release was a reissue of sorts - a rummaging through the digital files of the mysterious Trin Tran, and a pressing of them into vinyl for the first time ever. Now, the sweltering heat of July brings on God?002 and God?003, and bringing God? into the present-day in the process! The second official release from God? is an LP edition of the plastic fantastic power pop that was the very first White Fence album. Over the course of three subsequent albums, White Fence has taken on many other forms, but the jangling guitar pop of their debut represented a special moment in time. It's become a collector's edition on vinyl, but we expect that this second edition will be equally sought after, on pure awesomeness alone! Also in July from God? is the debut 7" from Scraper, one of San Francisco's most-fucked punk gangs. Featuring a couple sides from their cassette release on Wizard Mountain, this 7" is an introduction to the surreal visions and skating grind of Scraper in six-song EP form, complete with insert!
INTRODUCING ETHEREAL SEQUENCE AND PAULA
July's a nice month for other labels to do their thing - and to that end, welcome to the Ethereal Sequence era. Loosely connected to the Yoga Records boys, this label debuts with Relaxed Fit, an LP from Paula. Heard of 'em? Well, have you heard of Tops? David Carriere is from that band, and Paula's album's been kicking around online, but now receives true life on LP. This is "air-conditioned pop that is unmistakably contemporary" according to the label, and why would they lie? We can't imagine they'd even know how. So pop music fans looking for something new in the air, check out Paula.
Meanwhile, back on Drag City, Bitchin' Bajas have just arrived with their new record, and it's gonna be a part of the program in July with Andy Kaufman, White Fence and Scraper (on God?) and Paula (on Ethereal Sequence). In addition to all these other perfect choices for July (comedy, modern pop and punk, semi-respectively), neo-ambient music is also nice, whether you're beating the heat or melting in it. And with their new Bitchitronics™ system, Bitchin' Bajas are ascending to new levels in the ambient world, which you'll find out as soon as you get your Bitchitronics LP or cassette on July 16th! The men of Bitchin' Bajas like their trance-inducing sounds almost as much as they like the instruments they're induced with! Synths of all kinds and electric keyboards have been their métier, but on Bitchitronics, they've got a load of good old tape loops in the mix, as well as a bit of flute! Yeah, an acoustic sound...further impressing the old-fash analog sound-scape of Bitchitronics on you. It's a field that required further playing in, and the Bajas, as always, give it all they got. If your head's feeling too tight come the stinky months, Bitchin' Bajas got just the thing to loosen your synapse-straps, and it starts with a B and ends with ichitronics. Seizure in July!
SUMMER'S ALMOST GONE
Because after July, then it's August! That's how it happens, kids - simple math. Your life isn't some kind of endless expanse of days, it actually comes down in measured doses that get smaller every year. But fortunately, for every ever-increasingly smaller page that turns, there's another awesome (if somewhat smaller) one waiting - until you get to the endpaper, hahahahaHAAAAA! But in this case, when you get to August and back to school hangs heavy o'er your head, you've got the long-awaited (ten months?) new Ty Segall LP, which cryptic videos advise us to call Sleeper. Yes sir, cryptic video word made flesh! Also not on video yet is your news flash that we're doing a Venom P. Stinger whole-catalog reissue on both vinyl and CD in August. Yeah, classic Aussie punk stuff - breathe, damn you, breathe!
Yeah, don't forget to keep breathing - if you can master that l'il task, we'll talk at you again next time. More news for the living, that we can guarantee!
Drag City Inc.